Friday, February 29, 2008

Inventing a future for Wii

When I first mentioned Nintendo Wii on this blog last year, a reader noted Wii’s contribution to the world of rehabilitation therapy. The idea has come quite some distance since then. Some wit has even named it Wiihabilitation! The driving force is of course motion. Think of it as a very cool way to put Sight, Sound and Motion together as motivational sisomo. For rehab the motion part comes to the fore by inspiring continuous movement that builds muscle tone and gets nerve endings back in action. Apparently what happens is that patients become so immersed in the game they are playing that much of the pain associated with this sort of rehabilitation effort passes unnoticed. Therapists claim even more. Wii can draw people into a form of flow where the body and the mind work in perfect harmony. What an extraordinary state for people to enter who are usually seen as beset by ‘problems’ and ‘limitations.’ And imagine the possibilities of Wii Fit for the rest of us! These exciting uses of Wii are great examples of how smart people can take new technology off into unexpected directions. As cognitive technology guru Donald Norman says, “Even when technology is predicted accurately, usage never is.” That’s why the telephone was transformed from a device to broadcast messages from one person to many into the social networking tool of the 20th century and the entertainment and information hotspot of the 21st.. What can we expect of Wii? Certainly more than we can imagine.